10 PCs That Did (and Didn't) Make the Cut at the Next-Gen PC Design Competition

Winners of the 2007-08 Next-Gen PC Design Competition were recently announced, and the Napkin PC cleaned up, taking the top spot and the Chairman's Award for a cool $20,000 in prize money.


Some of the entries were a bit out there, but that's kind of the idea behind the contest: pushing the limits of the status quo and seeing where that road leads. So, from the super-creative finalists, I've selected the top five that would be key for the remote worker, and added five ideas of my own.

1. Napkin PC: Winner of the 2007-08 Next-Gen PC Design Competition. Tailor-made for those two-martini business lunches.

2. Backpacker's Diary:A perfect fit for the extreme telecommuter.

3.Yuno PC: What's better than enjoying a cup of joe and checking your Google stock in the morning? How about a touch-screen display coffee mug that also serves as a personal computer? Cheers.

4. The PC of the Swim-Rings:Dilemma: It's 98 degrees, the a.c.'s busted and you have work to do. Solution? Hop in the pool with the amphibious PC of the Swim-Rings. It's waterproof, lightweight and Internet-ready. Don't forget your sunscreen.

5. Petsonal Computer: It's a fact. Pet owners are pretty much crazy. They love their pets and will go to any length to keep them healthy and happy. Enter the Petsonal Computer. Check in with Fido while you're on the road. A touch-screen monitor for your pup has a picture of you, along with simple elements for your dog, including a snack dispenser and a health monitor. Send Fido simple voice commands: Sit, stay, upgrade to Vista!

PCs That Didn't Make the Cut (but Should Have):

1. The Cube Projector PC: Miss the buzz and staples of office life? The Cube Projector needs nothing more than a blank wall to bring the main office directly into your home. Features include audio of a nearby "co-worker" working hard at making dinner reservations and a virtual middle-manager who pops in throughout the day asking if you've got a sec. Add-ons include virtual surly cleaning crew and rickety elevator.

2. The Edible PC: Hungry? This fully functioning desktop is also fully digestible! Comes in six colors and six flavors. Sold by the case at Radio Shack and select Taco Bells. Add-ons: creme brulee, dinner music, low-carb version.

3. The Virtual Virtual PC:So virtual it actually doesn't exist. But if it did, it would be real fast, look real cool and come in three colors. Add-ons: virtual virtual printer (also does not exist), 24-hour tech support.


4. The Google PC: Cutting-edge preinstalled software detects what you want to search for when you simply place your hands on the keyboard. Gaze at the Google-esque utilitarian monitor (comes in white and off-white) and it will tell you where you left your keys (they're next to your Cube Projector). Add-ons: President Bush's misspelled search queries from the last eight years, Sergey's Super Bowl winner predictions, list of lesser-known holidays and birthdays of random innovators.

5. The Grateful Green PC: Made of hemp and adobe, this eco-friendly PC runs on lunar power and wheat grass. Its recycled processor is pretty slow, but what's the rush, man? Comes in tie-dyed colors, with a touch of gray, and mural of wizard and unicorn. Add-on: Adobe patch kit. (Warning: direct sunlight may cause PC to wilt.)